Specially-abled driver helps keep Srinagar-Leh highway open

Meet Anayatullah, 48-year-old deaf and dumb dozer driver: man behind the reopening of highest motorable pass along the highway.
“ Woh bas ishare samajh k kaam karta hai. ‘’
“ Woh bas ishare samajh k kaam karta hai. ‘’Special arrangement

Zojila (Drass): If you are here at Zojila and the road is open it is mostly because of one man Anayatullah, a deaf and dumb dozer driver working with the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) who has a huge role to play in it.

The snow clearance work on the strategic Srinagar-Leh highway is not an easy job. Involving risk and danger, the task requires the highest level of courage, skill, and physical and mental strength.

But, 48-year-old Anayatullah who works as a dozer driver with the BRO Beacon, for the last three decades has never let his physical handicap overcome his determination to do this job. Anayatullah, born deaf and dumb, is the one who leads the snow clearance work operation every year whatever the conditions are.

Anayatullah works with his instincts to move the bulldozer on the mountainous pass, which remains buried under snow throughout the winters.

He hails from the Nilgarath village of Sonamarg and was employed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in 1993 for the snow-clearance operations on Zojila.

The highest motorable Zojila Pass receives heavy snowfall during winter and there is no alignment or signs of the road visible because of the heavy snow and avalanches the road remains completely buried under snow and the alignment is completely covered under it.

However, Anayatullah uses his instincts to drive the dozer, cut the snow, and make the alignment. The 434-km road to Ladakh closes by late December and opens again in early April. During all these months, the road lies buried under “mountains of frozen snow making any movement impossible.”

One of his colleagues Bashir Ahmad told Greater Kashmir, “He ( Inayat Ullah nicknamed Tulla neither can hear or speak but he is the one who drove his dozer and led from the front every year during snow clearance work on the Srinagar-Leh highway”. “ Woh bas ishare samajh k kaam karta hai. ‘’

BRO Incharge Zojila Pass Lakshmi Shankar who was part of the team for snow clearance work this year said that Tulla is a “very much important part of the team.”

“He is dedicated and extraordinary with skills,” the BRO official told Greater Kashmir. Anayatullah has been awarded on a couple of occasions for his extraordinary skills and work.

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